Women with their arms raised and holding placards at Brighton beach supporting Target Ovarian Cancer's TAKE OVAR campaign

It's time to TAKE OVAR - one year on

This time last year, we launched our ‘It’s time to TAKE OVAR’ campaign. The campaign aims to transform the futures of more than 25,000 women in the UK who are living with ovarian cancer – and thousands more who are yet to be diagnosed.

“Enough is enough” we said, and asked you to join us to raise awareness, fund research and save lives. 

Women with their arms raised, holding up placards outside parliament supporting Target Ovarian Cancer's TAKE OVAR campaign

We are delighted that our campaign has brought together our community – women with ovarian cancer, families, friends, colleagues, health professionals and anyone who has been affected by ovarian cancer.

Target Ovarian Cancer supporters sat outside wearing Target Ovarian Cancer Walk Run t-shirts with a TAKE OVAR campaign sign

Together, we've taken over the Houses of Parliament, the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, Fabulous magazine, the West End, Brighton pier, the Tower of London, the Four Seasons hotel, Vue cinema, Cheltenham, Belfast, Bristol, Hull, Norwich, Belfast, Dumfries & Galloway, Milton Keynes, Thurrock College, Derry, Teeside University, Edinburgh, the University of Reading and many, many more. A massive thank you to all our supporters for getting out there, raising awareness, and being such amazing ambassadors. Together, we will make sure women are diagnosed at the earliest possible stage.

Target Ovarian Cancer's TAKE OVAR advert in Newcastle's city centre

Our campaign visuals have been very popular – our advertising has been displayed (for free!) on enormous billboards in Newcastle, Leeds, Manchester and Sheffield, as well as the Sun’s Fabulous magazine, at Thurrock College and various conference brochures – raising awareness with countless people.

Alison, Helen and Lisa in Target Ovarian Cancer's TAKE OVAR campaign
Alison, Helen and Lisa from our TAKE OVAR campaign

We’re hugely grateful to our seven faces of the TAKE OVAR campaign, and caught up with a few of them to hear their thoughts, one year on…

Dr Liz Moore

 Dr Liz Moore, whose research is funded by Target Ovarian Cancer, said:

Taking part in the ‘It’s time to TAKE OVAR’ campaign has helped me focus my research and how I talk about my research. To go to parliament and hear the issues acknowledged, to hear what women actually need rather than what I think they need. It has been brilliant. Highly embarrassing when people recognise me from my photo, but brilliant to be there and see such a big impact.

Seema

Seema, whose mother died from ovarian cancer, said:

I’m so proud to be part of the campaign. I feel like I’m doing something, but I don’t feel I’m doing enough. It is essential we raise more money for researchers to find treatments. I have such admiration for women diagnosed with ovarian cancer, how they have such strength to carry on.

Vickie

Vickie, a clinical nurse specialist, said:

I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t a little nervous, but it was, and remains, a complete honour. I thought of all the women, their families and friends that this campaign could potentially help and it became a really empowering experience. One year on, I have seen more women diagnosed with ovarian cancer and try to help them navigate through that time. We are beginning to see the impact of the introduction of niraparib and it’s been positive to have a new addition to the list of drugs used in the treatment of ovarian cancer.

Ivana

We were devastated to hear that Ivana died in July. Her husband, Alex, said:

I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t a little nervous, but it was, and remains, a complete honour. I thought of all the women, their families and friends that this campaign could potentially help and it became a really empowering experience. One year on, I have seen more women diagnosed with ovarian cancer and try to help them navigate through that time. We are beginning to see the impact of the introduction of niraparib and it’s been positive to have a new addition to the list of drugs used in the treatment of ovarian cancer.

Campaign impact

So what has actually changed as a result of the campaign so far? It is too early to tell the long term change, but we’re already seeing the results of us coming together – a powerful movement who demand to be listened to, who demand change.

In the past year we’ve seen game-changing announcements on access to drugs, with nirpararib, the first time a breakthrough drug has been made available to women with recurrent ovarian cancer on a mass scale, and with the announcement in Northern Ireland that women will receive the same access to cancer drugs as women elsewhere in the UK.

We’ve seen a higher profile for ovarian cancer, with Her Royal Highness The Duchess of Cornwall visiting Target Ovarian Cancer and women with ovarian cancer in Scotland, as well as the first pilot NHS ovarian cancer early detection service for women with the BRCA mutation.

At Target Ovarian Cancer, we have raised awareness with our new symptoms film, which has been viewed by over 100,000 people as well as being featured on Sky News. We launched our GP toolkit across Scotland, and 48 per cent of all GPs updated their knowledge of ovarian cancer via our training. We funded a new research project in Manchester to translate our knowledge of the DNA damage response into clinical benefits for patients with ovarian cancer. And we supported thousands of women and their families through our events, information and Support Line, helping them to live well with ovarian cancer.

We have achieved so much, but there is so much more to do. This organisation and the people we work with will not stop until every woman diagnosed with ovarian cancer has the prospect of normal life expectancy with a good quality of life.